BRISTOL - Consistent pitching, plate discipline, and mental toughness were key ingredients to the St. Paul softball team’s walk-off victory over Somers on Wednesday in the Class S state tournament.
The Falcons got on top early, putting up two runs in their first at bats.
Katrina Roy reached first base on an error, and was then moved over to second from a sacrifice bunt by Lindsey O’Bright. With two outs in the inning and Roy in scoring position, Falcons pitcher Abbey Poirot smacked the ball to right field. Roy crossed the plate, and Poirot replaced her teammate at second base. Katelynn Ouellette then drove in Poirot with a single to right field.
A similar third inning performance saw St. Paul take advantage of passed balls and errors made by Somers. The inning was highlighted by a double off the bat of Katrina Roy.
After the damage was dealt, St. Paul held a 4-0 lead on Somers.
The Spartans’ offense didn’t show until the fourth inning, when multiple errors from St. Paul lead to five runs crossing the plate.
The Falcons kept their heads up and bounced back with one run to tie the game in the fifth inning.
“We try to make them mentally tough,” coach Gary Hovhanessian said. “You can’t take an error [made] on the field with you [going] up to the plate.”
One major advantage the Falcons had during the game was the dominance of Poirot’s pitching. She recorded 15 strikeouts and only allowed one walk over eight innings.
“I definitely put it on myself today. If I throw strikes, we will be all good,” Poirot said. “You can’t walk anyone.”
Poirot only allowed one earned run, coming from a wild pitch that soared to the backstop. The resulting play at the plate scored Kendall Mcnamee of the Spartans, who led off the inning with a triple. This put the Spartans up by one in the seventh inning.
The Falcons nearly lost it in the seventh inning, but a sacrifice fly by Carolyn Marchak plated Roy, who crossed the plate before another runner was thrown out at third base on the play.
That sent the game into extra innings.
Roy hit a single earlier in the inning, and was moved over by an infield hit by Katelynn Oullette.
With no runs scored in the eighth by Somers, the Falcons once again had a chance to end the game.
A leadoff strikeout by the Falcons was answered with a single from the bat of Ashley Crowley. Hovhannesian then used McKenzie Gauthier as a pinch runner for Crowley. The speedy Gauthier stole second base uncontended.
With the runner in scoring position and now two outs on the board, Spartans pitcher Alexandria Gershowitz walked leadoff batter Jessica Persechino, putting runners on first and second base. That prompted a pitching change from Somers coach Melanie Zamorski.
Once again Roy stepped into the batter’s box. She slapped the ball to left field, falling just on the inside of the foul line. The live ball rolled as Gauthier rounded third on her way across the plate.
Hovhanessian credited the Falcons’ performance with their ability to stay aggressive and patient at the plate.
“[Roy] battles. We work constantly with her on staying disciplined at the plate,” Hovhanessian said.
St. Paul moves on to play Holy Cross in the quarterfinals on Friday. The game will be a rematch of the Class S state championship from last year.
The teams are familiar with each other and have met earlier in the year, resulting in a narrow victory for St. Paul.